The lights are on
During an EA Sports "Season Opener" presentation at GDC that detailed the ways the company is using player-generated data to identify and fix weak spots in its games, Madden executive producer Jeremy Strauser hinted at a couple new features
being implemented in the next version of the football powerhouse.
Using the extensive amount of play data generated by online gaming sessions (the company said 82-percent of NCAA players and 76-percent of the Madden audience plays online), EA Tiburon has identified some telling trends. Though the Madden NFL 10 offers over 300 different plays in various formations, the average player only uses 13 different playcalls a game - not exactly a ringing endorsement for the armchair offensive and defensive coordinators of the world. Strauser's focus on this issue indicates that making the playbook more accessible to players will likely be a point of emphasis in Madden NFL 11, though he didn't divulge any details as to how the dev team plans to achieve this goal. One option could be revamping the playbook's user interface to give players new ways to mine the playbook. Redesigning the "Ask Madden" playcalling assistant to more accurately recommend plays that fit the down and distance of the situation at hand could also go a long way.
Another eye opener EA Tiburon discovered was how players spend their time in games. Though the average head-to-head match lasts a little over an hour, only 17 minutes are spent playing actual football. Trimming this down-time will likely be another point of emphasis, which hopefully indicates that the formation substitutions will return to Madden as they are doing with NCAA. Allowing players to prepare and save changes to their depth charts and specific formations for each team could drastically cut down the time opponents spend buried in the menus after kickoff.
The reams of game data also uncovered some hilarious fun facts. For instance, gamers threw over 7.5 million interceptions with Brett Favre in Madden NFL 10, which falls just short of the record-breaking number of picks the old man has thrown during his real-world career.Be sure to check out the GDC 2010 hub page for quick access to more news and hands-on impressions straight from the event in San Francisco, CA.
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